Statistics released by Cafcass have revealed that the organisation received 7,896 care applications between April and December 2013.
This is a 4% drop on the same period in 2012, when there were 8,190 applications.
The figures also show that the 2013 calendar year had fewer care applications than 2012, with 10,813 applications in 2013 compared to 10,902 in 2012.
This represents the first fall in the number of care applications during a calendar year since 2008.
Meanwhile the number of private law cases received by Cafcass rose 7% between April and December 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.